US Elections

Biden’s post-Super Tuesday message: It’s Trump or me, folks

WASHINGTON, March 6 (Reuters) - Now that Donald Trump has all but sealed the Republican nomination to run for the White House, President Joe Biden will try to sharpen the contrast between the two men and their vision for America.

Biden, 81, and his reelection team have spent the past months crisscrossing the U.S. to raise money and tout his legislative accomplishments.

The efforts have raised plenty of cash, but failed to allay concerns about his age or boost his overall standing with voters in national and state polls that show him either barely leading or losing against Trump.

In response, Biden has told top campaign aides to ramp up its attacks on Trump, sometimes using profane language in private meetings to describe his Republican rival, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

Some advisers have suggested that the campaign abandon its hopes of raising Biden’s approval ratings and instead focus on driving down Trump’s, which they argue have held steady despite deep concerns among a large swath of Americans that he poses a serious threat to democracy.

Biden himself hit that note as results came in from the Super Tuesday contests.

“Tonight’s results leave the American people with a clear choice: Are we going to keep moving forward or will we allow Donald Trump to drag us backwards into the chaos, division, and darkness that defined his term in office,” he said in a statement.

Trump dominated the Republican presidential nomination contests held in 15 states on Tuesday. He is now close to becoming the Republican Party’s official presidential nominee, setting up a historic rematch with Biden, who beat him in 2020.

Both men have low approval ratings in national polls, meaning their teams are likely to run negative campaigns focused heavily on attacking their opponent.

Biden is hoping to use his State of the Union address to Congress on Thursday to help sharpen those contrasts.

He then heads to the battleground states of Pennsylvania on Friday and Georgia on Saturday to kick off the general election campaign in earnest.

Biden spent last weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat fine-tuning his State of the Union speech, which will focus on economic growth, tackling inflation and staying the course on his policies, communications director Ben LaBolt said.

LaBolt said Biden will highlight the contrast between his own policies and “the MAGA Republican agenda: rewarding billionaires and corporations with tax breaks, taking away rights and freedoms, and undermining our democracy,”

MAGA is an acronym for “Make America Great Again”, Trump’s signature slogan.

Biden campaign officials believe that the scrutiny on his age and performance has not been applied to Trump, and that the Super Tuesday results will focus voters’ attention on both men as well as quell any hope among unenthusiastic voters that new candidates might emerge.

One particular data point is troubling Democrats: Polling suggests voters’ views on Trump’s policies and his presidency have improved with time.

A recent New York Times poll found 10% of Mr. Biden’s 2020 voters now say they support Trump, while virtually none of Trump’s voters had flipped to Biden

“It’s a weird election. There’s a saying that elections are about the future, but this is the only election I know that is about the past. It’s pretty clear that right now, we are losing the war on the past,” said Democratic strategist James Carville.

Biden is also fending off an internal rebellion from Democrats who oppose his staunch backing of Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza.

On Friday, as Biden visits Pennsylvania, senior officials in his government will visit Colorado, Kentucky and the battleground states of Arizona and Michigan

Then, on Saturday, Biden and Trump both land in Georgia, a state that Biden flipped from Republican to Democrat in 2020.

(Editing by Heather Timmons and Alistair Bell)


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